John "Ace" Merrill is the primary antagonist in the novella The Body from Different Seasons (and, consequently the novella's film version, Stand By Me), as well as a secondary antagonist in the novel Needful Things. Ace lived most of his life in Castle Rock, Maine (except in Stand By Me, in which Castle Rock is located in Oregon).
Ace is the nephew of Reginald 'Pop' Merrill. He led a gang of bullies who tormented and terrorized Gordie LaChance, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp and Vern Tessio. He is also seen to be very close friends with Norman "Fuzzy' Bracowicz and Richard "Eyeball" Chambers, Chris's older brother.
After being caught by Sheriff Alan Pangborn in the early-to-mid-80s for breaking and entering, Ace was sent to Shawshank Penitentiary for 4 years. After being released, Ace eventually made his way back to Castle Rock. He died there in 1991.
- "We're gonna get you for this"
- "You're dead"
- "What are you gonna do, shoot us all?"
- "You got two choices. You leave quietly, we take the body. You stay, we beat the shit outta you & we still take the body."
- "Will you two just shut the fuck up? If either one of you assholes had 2,000 dollars, I'd kill ya both."